LIVE BLOG: No. 18 Georgia at No. 10 Alabama

Happy Friday Night Heights! This week no.18 Georgia travels to no.10 Alabama for another regular season SEC matchup. This is one of four SEC matchups this Friday night, and it’s going to be an exciting one! 

The Georgia Bulldogs have been on an upward streak the past couple of weeks, scoring back to back 197 plus team totals, both at home against LSU and Florida. Georgia’s highest score from an away meet came in the second competition of the year at a 196.300, so, they will be looking to get a big score in Tuscaloosa this weekend to get rid of a low score contributing to their current NQS heading into the back half of the season. Georgia has been led by one of the highest scorers on their roster, freshman Lily Smith, but also a handful of others who have been consistent in their lineups. Ady Wahl, another superstar freshman for Georgia, has been a staple in the all-around all year (with the exception of last week against LSU) and hasn’t recorded a score below a 39.1 thus far, so Wahl will continue to be one to watch heading into this week. 

This is Alabama’s second meet of the week, having competed at Texas Women’s on Monday afternoon in a quad with TWU as the host alongside Arkansas and Arizona. Alabama came away from this competition scoring their sixth score of a 197 plus this season, and their highest score of the year at a 197.675. This will be the quickest turn around of the year thus far for Alabama, so it will be interesting to see if lineups change, if any regulars are rested, and how this team looks for the second time this week. On Monday night, the highlight of the meet came from the huge 49.6 scored on bars, with all scores counting above a 9.875. Floor was also a great event for Alabama, with the top scorer, Lily Hudson, coming in with a big 9.95. Alabama has been consistent across the board this year, so the only big question mark will be how the team fares with a shorter rest period coming into this home meet.

This will be a matchup you don’t want to miss! You can watch it here at 8:00 EST!  

Rotation 1: Alabama Vault, Georgia Bars

New leos for Bama tonight! Loving the new pink!

Doggette late scratch, will not be competing in the vault lineup.

German (BAMA): Starts off with a huge Yurchenko full small hop back, great lead off! 9.8.

Howard (UGA): Huge Church release to a shoot over to a blind full, double tuck, small hop back on the landing. 9.8.

Hudson (BAMA): Yurchenko 1.5, ALMOST stuck! Small, a little stiff legged hop forward on the landing, but great height and distance. 9.875.

Fitzgerald (UGA): Starts with a Tkachev to shoot over, really nice. Short on last handstand, to double lay, big leg separation but sticks it! 9.825.

LaCoursiere (BAMA): Another Yurchenko 1.5, small hop forward with a slight separation on the landing. 9.825.

Wahl (UGA): Opens with Maloney to Pak, nice smooth connection, end with a GREAT handstand to a stuck double layout! Really nice routine for Georgia! 9.85.

Sears (BAMA): Yurchenko full, HUGE, flairs it out with a small hop back on the landing. 9.825.

Snyder (UGA): Straight body handstand, love, to a Church, but misses the grab and has to remount. Redoing the whole routine with a beautiful Church to shootover, blind full to stuck double tuck! That routine was so nice after that mistake; not what she wanted, but so beautiful after that. 9.25.

Blanco (BAMA): Yurchenko 1.5 big hop forward on the landing, lots of power moving out. 9.875.

Scott (UGA): A little more pressure after that mistake, but opens with a huge Ray to a floaty Pak down. Shaposh 1/2 back up, and a double layout, small step back on the landing, but exactly what they wanted to get them back on track! 9.875.

Gladieux (BAMA): Last up for Bama in the first rotation, Gladieux with a STUCK Yurchenko full! Wow! A little low chest on the landing, but such a good cap to a great first rotation for Bama! 9.925.

Smith (UGA): Opens with a Maloneu up to the high bar, right to a shoot over, perfect. Last handstand right on top and full out dismount, small step forward, but SUCH a beautiful bar routine. 9.925.

Bunagan (BAMA) : *exhibition, Yurchenko 1.5, small step back, but a really nice addition to the lineup with another 10.0 start value!

After 1: Alabama 49.325, Georgia 49.275

A great first rotation for both teams! There was only one major mistake this rotation, but without the fall having to count for Georgia’s event total, the two end this rotation separated by less than a tenth. The last two routines for each team were a highlight for each; Gladieux’s stuck Yurchenko full gave Bama their highest score with a 9.925, which was matched by Lily Smith also in the anchor spot on bars. This has the potential to be a really close meet the whole way through!

Rotation 2: Georgia Vault, Alabama Bars 

LaClair (UGA): Starts off this second rotation with a Yurchenko full, really nice height and flaired out with a small hop back. 9.775.

Gladieux (BAMA): Huge straddle Jaegar to a Pak down, nice form, no leg separation, blind full double tuck STUCK! 2/2 on these landings today! What a lead off routine!

Battle (UGA): Yurchenko 1.5, huge hop forward, again lots of power, but a nice 10.0 vault for Georgia! 9.8.

LaCoursiere (BAMA): Maloney up to the high bar, Pak, really nice, misses that handstand into her Shaposh 1/2, but ends with a stuck full in! 9.9.

Finnegan (UGA): Yurchenko 1.5, really nice landing, just a little shuffle on the landing, jumping off to the side (might get an out of bounds, but really nice vault!) 9.925.

Waligora (BAMA): Huge Jaegar to shoot over, really smooth. Ends with a nice double layout, small step back. 9.925.

Smith (UGA): Yurchenko full, slight pike in the hips on the landing, but a great landing with only the smallest shuffle back. 9.8.

Adams (BAMA): In for Dogette who is being evaluated for a lower extremity issue; Shaposh up, to Pak salto, both really nice. Gets the last handstand, to a blind full to a HUGE double tuck stuck! What a clutch routine in a last minute spot! 9.950

Scott (UGA): Yurchenko full, STUCK! A little off to the side on the landing, but doesn’t move on that! 9.850.

Blanco (BAMA): Maloney up to the high bar, Pak back down, so nice, Shaposh 1/2 back up, ends with a STUCK full in! Truly don’t know what could be taken on that. Not a toe out of place!! 9.95.

Wahl (UGA): Yurchenko 1.5, slight hop forward, but a great wya to close out this rotation! 9.9

Machado (BAMA): Ending a huge rotation for Bama, opens with a wiggly first handstand with a gorgeous Pak down to a Shaposh 1/2. Short on the last handstand, but sticks the dismount! 9.875.

After 2: Alabama 98.925, Georgia 98.550

Before diving into the recap of this rotation, Makari Doggette has been said she is being examined for a lower extremity injury so she will be out for the rest of the meet.

This second rotation was another great one for both teams! Bama had a huge rotation on bars coming away with a 49.6, with all counting scores above a 9.875, highlighted by Blanco’s near perfect routine in the fifth spot with a 9.95. Adams came in for Dogette in this rotation and came up BIG with a 9.95! Georgia looked much more focused on their landings on details on their vaults, and their scores reflected it! Finnegan scored the highest score of the rotation at a 9.925, and the Gymdogs were able to drop a 9,775, only counting scores above a 9.8, This is still a really close meet and could go either way in the next two. Now, onto the back half!

Rotation 3: Alabama Beam, Georgia Floor

(BAMA): This lineup spot has been one that’s been switching the last couple of competitions, but tonight, Lily Hudson is in this spot. Opening with a front aerial to BHS, very nice connection. Switch leap, switch leap, solid. Switch 1/2, little wobble on the landing, ends with a round off 1.5 STUCK! Such a hard spot to be in, but Hudson handled it great tonight! 9.825.

Williams (UGA): Opens with a nice back 1.5 to front layout, good landing. Switch side to straddle full, gets it around. Second pass, double pike, nice control on that, and ends with a huge double tuck with a slightly larger step back but keeps her foot down on the landing. Great first routine for Georgia! 9.825.

Waligora (BAMA): BHS LOSO, solid. Looks really confident and moving well on the beam! Side aerial, nice. Split jump to tuck full, gets that all the way around to the finish. Ends with a round off 1.5 small step forward on the landing. Nice and confident second routine up for Alabama! 9.80.

Fitzgerald (UGA): The ode to Britney, love it. First pass for Fitzgerald, front rudi to layout step out, really good landing. Second pass, double tuck to end, really nice finish. 9.85.

Burgess (BAMA): Up in the third spot, one arm BHS LOSO to start, perfect. Side aerial, aggressive finish, good landing. Switch leap to beat jump. It’s the beam smile for me, love seeing her joy. Switch side, really nice. Dismounts with a Gainer pike, small hop forward on the landing. What a routine! 9.825.

LaClair (UGA): Now an ode to Pitbull! Music stops (?) She’s leaving the floor and just waiting now. Okay, ode to Pitbull part two. Opens with a front through to a double full, great control on the landing. Great leaps, nice straddle position. Ends with a front 1.5 to layout step out, hangs out in the air a little with a late split, but a great routine! 9.80.

Gladieux (BAMA): Opens with BHS back pike, little wobble on the landing but pulls it back on. Front aerial to beat jump, really nice. Switch to split, beautiful. Ends with a STUCK double full dismount, a little low chest, but another great routine! 9.9.

Wahl (UGA): Starts with a HUGE full in, really nice control on the landing. Torjete wolf full, gets it around. Second pass front through to double tuck, is really close to the corner and ends with her chest down, steps forward but keeps it in bounds. 9.8.

Adams (BAMA): Starts with a beautiful wolf turn and is up with a front aerial, really nice. BHS LOSO, solid. Switch leap to split jump, nice extension on those leaps. BHS 1.5, STUCK to end! Talk about clutch! Wow. 9.95!!

Smith (UGA): Front double full to start really nice. Right into a back 1.5, to front lay, lacked a little amplitude on that but keeps it up. Switch side to wolf full, nice. Ends with a front rudi to straddle jump, such a nice, different routine in this lineup! 9.9.

Blanco (BAMA): Capping off a solid beam rotation, starts with a really nice front aerial. BHS LOSO LOSO, perfect. Wow. Effortless. Switch leap to beat jump, really nice. Ends with a round off 1.5, STUCK! Again, really don’t know what would be taken. Too good. 9.9. (Flashed a 10.0 but went overtime so a tenth taken off) (Major boo’s coming from the crowd .. ugh..)

Parker (UGA): In for Cashman, starts with a really nice double pike, really controlled. Back 1.5 to front layout, again really nice landing. Ends with double tuck, ends really under rotated and has to hop forward but keeps it up.

After 3: Alabama 148.325, Georgia 147.725

That was such a great beam rotation for Bama! With all scores counting above a 9.825, this was a really great rotation for Bama. Highlighted by Adams’ 9.95, everyone up for Bama looked confident and aggressive. Ending the rotation with a, quite literally, perfect routine for Blanco, she was flashed a 10.0, but got taken off a tenth for over time. Needless to say, the crowd was NOT happy. That routine was too good. Floor was good for Georgia, but not as high scoring as they would’ve hoped. A regular staple in the lineup, Amanda Cashman, was not in tonight, and with only one score of a 9.9 from Smith, Georgia knows they are much more capable as a floor team. This still isn’t over however! Georgia is strong on beam and can make this five tenth difference up with the attention to detail they showed on the first two! Last one here for the Power to Pink meet in Bama!

Rotation 4: Georgia Beam, Alabama Floor

Howard (UGA): BHS LOSO, solid to start for Howard. Sissone to switch half, really nice. Side aerial, a little off but pulls it back on. BHS Gainer full, stuck! A great lead off routine for Georgia! 9.85.

Waligora (BAMA): Front layout to front double full, really nice control and height on that. Back 1.5 to front layout, great landing and such a fun lead off routine for Bama! 9.9.

Morgan (UGA): Another freshman in the lineup for Georgia. Fun jump split mount to start, love it. BHS LOSO, really nice. Sissone to switch half, good. Side aerial, a little under rotated and steps forward. Round off 1.5, small step back to end. 9.775.

Burgess (BAMA): HUGE double pike first pass! Second pass, another huge double tuck! Ends with front full to front layout, what a routine! You’d truly be thinking she has done floor her whole career; just exudes confidence on this event. 9.95 (career high!)

Battle (UGA): Third freshman up for Georgia. Side split jump 1/2 nice. Switch leap, split jump. A little off on the front toss. BHS LOSO, slight bobble. Ends with BHS Gainer full, step forward on the ending. 9.75.

Machado (BAMA): Really nice double tuck for first pass, chest up. The most perfect triple to double wolf turn you’ll ever see. Back 1.5 to front layout, solid. Switch leap to switch 1/2 to end. Beautiful! 9.95!

Turner (UGA): BHS LOS LOSO, a little off, but keeps it on. Round off 1.5, stuck to end! 9.9.

Hudson (BAMA): I just love this routine, so fun. Front layout to front double, really nice. She’s set up for a big score here! Ends with a HUGE double tuck, great landing. The ending, my fav. 9.925.

Smith (UGA): Front aerial, big wobble. Tries it again, front aerial to BHS BHS, solid this time. Switch leap to split jump, nice. Front kick over, really nice. Dismounts with a Gainer full off the side, STUCK! Minus the first wobble, a really nice routine. 9.825.

Blanco (BAMA): Front double full, a different opening pass her, but nonetheless, beautiful Sky high double tuck as a second pass. Front full front lay to finish, really nice routine! 10.0 this time (??) 9.95.

Scott (UGA): A little wobble on the full turn. Front handspring to BHS LOSO, really nice. Split leap to switch leap, nice extension. Moon walk alert! Front handspring step out, front full to end, small step forward. Such a unique routine and a great, strong finish for Georgia! 9.9.

Gladieux (BAMA): Starts with a HUGE, like HUGE, full out! Front layout front rudi to split jump, great control. What a way to end the night! 9.975!

Final: Alabama 198. 075, Georgia 196.975

198 barrier BROKEN. Alabama scored their first 198 of the 2024 season, and wow, it was so well deserved. Ending the meet with a new school record of a 49.75 on floor, this was a lights out rotation, and a fantastic meet for Bama as a whole. Even with the unfortunate absence of Doggette, Bama showed their depth and strength across the board. Every athlete on floor for Alabama scored above a 9.9, ending this meet as strong as they started. Alabama looks to be hitting their stride, and handled the shorter turn around from the meet on Monday extremely well.

This wasn’t Georgia’s best meet, but there were definitely highlights for the team overall. The meet started really strong for Georgia on bars and vault, but after a few mistakes and lineup adjustments on floor, this shifted a little. However, Georgia in the past couple years has been somewhat inconsistent on beam, so seeing them put up a solid beam rotation in the past couple of weeks including tonight is great to see. As a whole, this was an AMAZING home meet for Bama for a great cause, and should give Bama more confidence moving into their next meet. For Georgia, this was their highest away score of the year this far, so moving forward, they will be looking to build on this ‘away meet confidence’ as they get closer to competing in post season.

What an exciting meet! Happy Friday Night Heights (the best night of the week!)

Event Winners: 

VT: Gladieux (BAMA) Finnegan (UGA) 9.925

UB: Adams, Blanco (BAMA) 9.950

BB: Adams (BAMA) 9.95

FX: Gladieux (BAMA) 9.975

READ THIS NEXT: Judge’s Inquiry: Observations About Judging From the 2024 Season So Far

Live blog by Julianna Roland

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